Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (390)

Patrick O'Donovan


390. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider changes and revisions to the SPHE curricula to provide for a greater level of assistance and support for children in relation to the issue of cyberbullying, its impact and consequences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32146/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Current Social, Personal and Health Education (SPHE) curricula at primary and post-primary levels already provide students with the strategies and related knowledge to deal with bullying in all its forms including cyberbullying. The curricula aim to foster self-worth, self confidence and respectful relationships and place a particular emphasis on developing a sense of personal responsibility for one's own behaviour, feelings and actions.

The Mental Health Guidelines for Post-Primary Schools (2013) also promote the development and implementation of relevant policies including an anti-bullying policy and code of behaviour incorporating positive behaviour management strategies and the promotion of a 'telling' culture in schools.

I also published 'An Action Plan on Bullying' in January 2013. This Action Plan, which arises from the work of the Anti-Bullying Working Group, provides guidance to schools in the area of bullying, including cyber bullying.

The SPHE Support Service provides for whole-staff seminars on bullying prevention and intervention and policy review and development. The Support Service also provides for school-based anti-bullying support to include, for example, administration of a student survey, the provision of a parent evening and the development of strategies for resolving bullying issues.

The new Framework for Junior Cycle that I launched in October 2012 will build on this by placing a focus on the principle of Well Being and key skills such as Managing Myself and Staying Well. It also includes a Statement of Learning that requires that students will be enabled to take action to safeguard and promote their well-being and that of others. The NCCA is currently developing a short course in SPHE which will support schools in meeting this statement of learning.